Neema
Monday, September 25, 2017
Mosaic International

A highlight of the trip was the Special Olympics event. Over 80 children participated in this event, including 20 children from the local public primary school. They were joined by 20 volunteers and 30 teachers and church representatives.

The seven competition stations, staffed by international volunteers, were in constant activity. Stations included: running, dancing, parachute throwing, jumping, climbing, ball kicking and throwing. Each child got to do all activities. All children were awarded medals at the end of the day.

One of the Mosaic visitors, Gary Hein, shared his favorite moment: “For me, the highlight of the Special Olympics day involved a young woman named Neema. I was manning the jumping station with Mikey, and we watched as Neema maneuvered her walker down the walkway that consisted of square concrete blocks, with 2–4 inch gaps between them. The wheels on the walker got stuck a lot, but she was determined. The other students took their turns jumping varying distances and then it was Neema’s turn. I thought she should at least try, knowing that a slide step would be the most we could expect, and I could tell her caregiver was skeptical. Neema came up to the line and we moved the walker away. As Mikey counted down, “tatu-mbili-moja” (3-2-1), I took her by one arm and Mikey took the other, and up she went with the highest jump of the day. As we put her down, everyone burst into applause and Neema’s smile revealed pure joy. She was on cloud nine! She had been included with everyone else and had done something she only could dream about – defying gravity – if only for a second. All the participants continued making jumps and Neema tried again a few times with similar exhilaration. The enthusiasm of the group and responses like Neema’s reinforced my view on the need for inclusion everywhere. Her gift to us in those moments was extraordinary."